Death of Thrones co-star's character hurt me, says Liam Cunningham
Irish actor Liam Cunningham has said a recent death on bloodbath TV series Game of Thrones "hurt" him on both a personal and professional level.
The East Wall native plays Ser Davos Seaworth in the popular fantasy series and his character found out in the season finale that young Shireen Baratheon had been killed by her father.
Davos and Shireen had built a friendship throughout the series, with Shireen teaching the smuggler-turned-knight how to read.
With Seaworth on his way to The Wall to plead with Jon Snow for munitions, pretender to the Iron Throne Stannis Baratheon, burned his daughter Shireen alive, as a sacrifice to R'hllor, the Lord of Light.
"It did hurt. I love working with Kerry," he said of Kerry Ingram, the actress who plays Shireen. "So it's an awful loss, both professionally and personally.
"I found out about this time last year, when they sent me the scripts, and I read them through and saw that this delightful young lady was going to be burned.
"I was astonished - well, listen, nothing astonishes me on this show, to be honest with you. But it hit very close to home," he added.
Cunningham said their scenes together added a unique dimension to the show which is characterised by death and heartache.
"The scenes we had together have been described as being incredibly sweet, which is not a word that you use normally with Game of Thrones," he said.
"These sweet moments in the middle of this incrediblestory of legacy, power and paranoia - to have that removed is difficult. It's tricky. I shall miss her enormously."
The Dubliner praised his young co-star's acting skills and said he doesn't believe actors shouldn't work with children.
"What Kerry brings to it is a beautiful honesty of her portrayal," he told The New York Times website Arts Beat.
"There's no performing. She just is, you know? And that's the best kind of acting.
"There's an old actor's saying about how you don't work with children or animals.
"I disagree with both of them. Some of the best times I've ever had were working with kids, because there's an honesty to them," he added.
The 54-year-old revealed they have great parties when cast members are killed off but he and Kerry (16) exchanged gifts.
"It was really sweet on the last day that we worked together. I had bought an Irish silver stag that I had made up for Kerry as a parting gift," he said.
"When I handed it over she had bought this beautiful throw pillow with a stag on it, like the Baratheon sigil. We swapped stags.
"It was very touching in our little pop-up tent at the end of the day, when we were handing them over," he added.
Many viewers think the show is quite harsh but Liam says "the best kind of television messes with your head".
"Bad things happen to good people on this show, and good things happen to bad people," he said.
"That's one of the reasons I think audiences like it, is it's not condescending. It expects you to bring your brain along," he added.Game of Thrones season finale - the big shocks of the night